Trevor’s been under the weather all weekend, so I made my go-to chicken soup. The ingredients are nothing out of the ordinary– just carrots, rice, potatoes, onions, celery, and a heaping pile of spinach thrown on in the bowl to wilt at the very end. But the broth is another story altogether. It’s sweet, tangy, and salty, rich with fat and brimming with magical nutrients. And the best part is, it’s made out of odds and ends I would have just thrown away up until a few months ago.
The best kitchen advice I read last year was to keep a gallon-size plastic bag in the freezer and take it out whenever you’re cooking. Toss in any scraps that you think might taste good in a soup. A few of my favorites are: chicken bones, herbs that are past their prime (rosemary, thyme, and parsley are fantastic), old cheese rinds, garlic nubs, onion skins (they give the soup a gorgeous nutty color), the ends of celery, and even old kale or spinach. Throw the bag in the freezer and don’t think twice about it. Once a month or so, empty the contents into a gigantic stock pot, fill it 3/4 of the way with water, add a hefty dose of salt and pepper, and let it simmer for 5 hours.
That’s it! It’s so easy, cheap, and infinitely better than anything you can purchase at the store. We recently went through a stock frenzy, buying some backs and necks of chicken at our local farm stand, and canned 10 quarts of liquid gold. It’s perfect for sipping when you’re sick or stirring into arborio rice for a quick risotto. We’ll be eating it all week as chicken soup.
Happy February! Stay warm & healthy.